"Prop" is an abbreviation for "property," and it refers to an object with which one of the actors in the scene physically interacts. The person in charge of props is known as the prop master (short for property master). Props may include items such as people, animals, vehicles, buildings, and landscapes. Characters use the objects as part of their story; for example, a character might physically interact with a vehicle to get away from someone, or might use another object as a weapon.
Props also include visual effects such as green screens and digital backgrounds. These are used by the director or producer to help create the illusion that certain scenes are taking place in different locations. For example, if there's a scene where it would be difficult to actually build a building but still want to use it during filming, then a digital version could be created instead.
Finally, props include anything that isn't considered camera equipment. For example, if a character has a guitar on set, this isn't considered camera equipment and doesn't need to be listed in the budget. However, if the guitarist plays a key role in the scene and isn't available, then this might require bringing in an extra to stand-in for the character.
The prop department usually works with the production designer to decide what props will be needed and who will play them.
The Prop Master is in charge of procuring, arranging, maintaining, and accounting for all props required for the production. Any readily transportable item required to set a scene is referred to as a prop. Props can be real or made-up.
Items that are not readily moved but may be needed in certain scenes (such as a chair used by an actor during a particular sequence) are called location props. Location props are usually brought in by the crew before they shoot a scene. The director will tell them where he needs each one placed.
Props that are integral to the setting or story line but don't fit into this definition (such as a piano that is needed for several shots throughout the film) are called task props. Task props are usually brought in by the producer or someone from his office.
There are three types of props: physical, technical, and stylistic.
Physical props are items that are actually present in the scene being filmed. These could be objects used by the actors, such as a knife or gun; or they could be elements within the scene that aren't apparent to viewers, like an open window behind which sounds can be heard or lights seen from outside the frame. Physical props can be real or fake.
The term "prop" is an abbreviation for "property," and it refers to an object or piece of scenery that the performers utilize as part of the scene. Movie props serve a similar function to stage props in that they enhance the drama while also assisting the players in their roles. For example, a prop could be used to indicate what character someone is (i.e., a hat for a man or a headdress for a woman), how something is done (i.e., use a knife to kill someone), or even just to help set the mood (i.e., burn some incense).
There are several different types of props used in movies: physical, visual, symbolic, and informational.
Physical props are objects that are directly involved in the scene being played out. These could be items that are seen but not touched (like a book on a table), or they could be things that are manipulated by the actors (like a gun or an axe). Physical props can often be recognized by their appearance alone (i.e., a book has pages and covers) but this is not always the case (i.e., an old shoe). It's best if you can identify the purpose of this type of prop from just looking at it since there may be more than one thing that serves the same role within the scene.
But, exactly, what is a prop? A prop is anything with which a character interacts. Consider it a prop, which is short for property, as if it belonged to a character. Props are frequently confused with set dressing. Set dressing is the physical environment in which a scene takes place; it can include props but not all props are set dressing.
Props can be real or fake. Real props are objects that are actually part of the setting (i.e., they are not costumes) and they are used by actors during performances. Examples include furniture, paintings, and appliances. Fake props are made up elements that do not physically exist in reality; they may be representations of actual objects or they may be completely imaginary creations. For example, a prop could be as simple as a pillow on which an actor sleeps off their exhaustion from performing a long sequence of scenes.
The prop department usually consists of one or more artists who are responsible for creating all the props used in a production.